The Gradel Institute of Charity opens in New College

Thursday 5th Oct 2023, 4.37pm

The Gradel Institute of Charity, based in New College is the first of its kind.

Miles Young, Warden of New College and Chair of the Institute’s Governing Committee, said that it is “the first research centre in the world to concentrate on charities as organisations, not solely as a form of philanthropy”.

The Institute will conduct research to educate and inform third sector organisations and will be based in a striking tower which forms part of the College’s new Gradel Quadrangles. The tower and the larger Quadrangles site, which has been designed by the award-winning David Kohn Architects, has been made possible by a generous charitable gift by Chris Gradel, an alumnus of New College and the CEO and Co-founder of PAG Capital.

The leading voices in charity and philanthropy from the UK and US have come together to form the Institute’s Executive and Governing Committee. Sir Stephen Bubb, the Executive Director, will be joined by Professor Peter Frumkin as the Academic Director.

Sir Stephen has led the development of the charity sector in the UK through his 16-year leadership of the organisation for charity chief executives (ACEVO).

Professor Frumkin joins the Institute from the University of Pennsylvania where he is Heyer Chair in Social Policy and Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy. He confirmed that, “the Gradel Institute has the dual goal of catalysing the resources and expertise of the University of Oxford to develop new insights about charities, while also translating these ideas into programmes that engage leaders who are committed to achieving greater effectiveness in their work”.

The origins of the Institute are explained by Warden Young: “The Gradel Institute of Charity originated as a collaboration between New College and Charity Futures, a third sector think-tank established in 2016 to act as a forum for research around the impact of charity”. Along with partners, Sir Stephen collaborated with Jonathan Smith, who now leads Skylark Works, and they developed the idea of an Institute “to introduce, offer, and foster the study of non-profits around the world”.

The priorities of the Institute include:

  • Undertaking research to illuminate how to create sustainability in the sector.
  • Gathering information from around the globe about the charity sector.
  • Running seminars, lectures and summer schools at the new state-of-the-art Gradel Quadrangles site.
  • Collaborating with other universities, alongside a range of national infrastructure bodies and external partners.
  • Developing leaders within the charity sector.
  • Creating a bank of knowledge for centralised, institutional knowledge and research for non-profit practices.

The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, who has supported the Institute since its inception, stated that, “the establishment of the world’s first research centre focusing on charity is an inspiring and essential step towards understanding and addressing the critical challenges faced by charitable organisations. May its work pave the way for a better understanding of the sector and empower individuals and organisations to create lasting and positive change in society”.